When the New South Wales government published the NSW Government Open Data Policy (v. 1.0, September 2013) on 11 November 2013, it adopted a position on Creative Commons licensing of government data and information that is consistent with that which has recently been adopted by other Australian jurisdictions (Federal government, Queensland and South Australia) in their open data initiatives.
The NSW Government Open Data Policy identifies open data as a priority initiative and aims to assist NSW government agencies in embedding open data principles in their operations and in releasing high-value datasets. It recognises that “open data should be both technically and legally open – in the sense that it is technically available and usable, and appropriate licensing frameworks are in place to facilitate its release and use”.
Data is to be open by default, with government agencies required to “start from a position of data openness, with the prerogative in favour of data release, unless there is a specific, overriding reason for data not to be released in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009”.
Restrictions on the use of data are to be avoided, with “the Creative Commons (CC BY AU) licensing framework” to be used to support data openness and facilitate data usage.
The endorsement of the CC BY licence by the NSW Government in its Open Data Policy is an important development and adds to the growing momentum for the adoption of open data principles by all governments Australia-wide. As NSW is piloting the federation of its own central data portal (data.nsw.gov.au) with the data portals established by the Federal Government (data.gov.au), Queensland (data.qld.gov.au) and South Australia (data.sa.gov.au), use of the CC BY licence will ensure that legal interoperability, as well as technological interoperability, is achieved across the participating jurisdictions.